Cartagena is home to several fascinating museums, each offering a unique perspective on the city's rich history and culture. Here are some of the most important museums to visit:
Museo del Oro Zenu:
This museum showcases the gold artifacts of the Zenú culture, a pre-Columbian civilization that once inhabited the region. Visitors can admire intricate gold jewelry, pottery, and other artifacts while learning about the Zenú's art, beliefs, and daily life. In addition, the museum gives a detailed description of the 'Zenú' culture and its incredible hydraulic engineering achievements. The visit takes about 1 hour and it costs 25,000 COP per person. The museum is in the city's historic center, at Calle 33 #2-98, in a beautiful Colonial building in Plaza Bolivar. It opened its doors 20 years ago and has since collected and displayed some fantastic pre-Colombian artifacts, including many fine examples in gold.
Palacio de la Inquisición
Housed in a former Spanish Inquisition palace, this museum offers a chilling glimpse into the dark history of Cartagena. Visitors can explore the torture chambers, prison cells, and courtroom while learning about the Inquisition's methods and victims. This museum, 'El Palacio de la Inquisición,' is one of the finest late-Colonial architectural examples in the city. It stands on the original site of the 'Punishment Tribunal' of the Holy Office from 1610. Over the centuries, this site has seen many condemned to death and executed. As such, the museum today houses many items of torture, in addition to a good collection of pre-Colombian pottery and historical artifacts from both the Colonial and Independence periods. The visit takes about 1 hour and it costs 20,000 COP per person. The museum is in the city's historic center, Plaza de Bolívar.
Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena
This museum showcases contemporary art by Colombian and international artists, focusing on Caribbean themes and aesthetics. Visitors can admire paintings, sculptures, installations, and other works while enjoying the museum's airy and light-filled spaces.
The Museum of Modern Art is located in the San Pedro Plaza and has a fine display of paintings by Alejandro Obregón and Enrique Grau. In addition, it has a good collection of art from the 50s and collective and individual collections. The visit takes about 1-2 hours, and it costs 20,000 COP per person. The museum is located in the Getsemaní neighborhood, at Calle 30 #4-08.
Casa Museo Rafael Núñez
This museum is housed in the former home of Rafael Núñez, a famous 19th-century Colombian politician and writer who served as the country's president four times. Visitors can explore the elegant colonial mansion while learning about Núñez's life, work, and legacy. The Rafael Nuñez Museum was built in 1858 and is of Caribbean style. It houses many personal items, including furniture, paintings, and art forms. The visit takes about 1 hour and it costs 12,000 COP per person. The museum is located in the city's historic center, at Calle 2 #7-48.
Museo Naval del Caribe
This museum is dedicated to the naval history of the Caribbean, with a particular emphasis on the Spanish colonial period. Visitors can admire ship models, maps, weapons, and other artifacts while learning about the region's maritime traditions and conflicts. The visit takes 1-2 hours, costing 15,000 COP per person. The colossal building has two wings that house many interesting exhibitions relating to Cartagena de Indias's naval history and the Colombian Navy. It also has many related items donated by several Caribbean countries. The museum is located in the city's historic center, at Calle San Juan de Dios #3-62, within the 16th-century area of the walled city, close to the monastery and church of San Pedro Claver
Note: Prices and opening hours of the museums in Cartagena may vary, so please check the official websites of each museum before visiting. Also, some museums in Cartagena may offer discounts for students, seniors, or locals.